Once you’ve retained an attorney for your Auto Accident Case, continue seeing your doctor and follow their instructions regarding treatments, taking your medications, visiting with specialists if needed, obtaining needed physical therapy, and concentrate on the processes which will allow your body to heal. It’s important to your case, that all instructions from your doctor be followed to the letter.
Once you’ve retained our firm, your case will be entering the first phase of the legal process, with an Investigation of the accident, which may include requesting police reports, taking pictures of the scene, identifying and taking witness statements, verifying insurance coverages from all sources, performing defendant asset searches, and other critical investigative activities. During this process, your case manager or lawyer may need additional information from you and may reach out via phone or email. You may have questions regarding your case status, and you should feel free to reach out to your case manager or lawyer and ask questions as needed.
As your treatment progresses, your lawyer and case manager will be coordinating and obtaining progress reports from your medical provider(s) to begin the process of Documentation of your claim in order to build a presentation to the defendant’s insurance company. Included in this documentation will be medical bills, prescription drug receipts, receipts for travel to and from your medical providers, obtaining statements from employers regarding time off and potential lost wages, statements from other interested parties regarding other losses supporting any claim of pain and suffering, or loss of consortium which may become part of the claim.
Once you have been discharged from medical treatment, all documentation is assembled, and an Evaluation is done by your attorney to ascertain the value of your claim. This value is a range which will be used in the process of negotiating a settlement with the insurance company. Once all documentation is gathered, a Demand against the insurance company is compiled which represents your lawyer’s best judgement of a fair settlement of the accident claim, with all supporting documentation of expenses and losses connected to the accident.
The Demand will be forwarded to the insurance company and Negotiations will begin. Nearly 90% of our cases settle as part of this negotiation with the insurance company. Your lawyer will defend our demand against attempts by the insurance company to negate the claim. If negotiations succeed, there will be a fair Settlement of your claim and proceeds will be distributed between the lawyer, any liens against the case, such as unpaid medical bills, with the remaining proceeds distributed to you.
If on the other hand, your lawyer determines that the best settlement obtainable from the insurance company via out of court negotiations, will not represent a fair settlement, if questions of who is liable for the damages surface from the other party, or if neither side can arrive at an acceptable value for a settlement, then a lawsuit is filed, and litigation begins.
Litigation is a more formal continuation of the negotiations already begun, with increasing stakes for the participants. A settlement can occur anytime during pretrial proceedings and up to and including during trial. Pretrial steps differ from case to case, but the processes follow a pattern. During the Discovery phase of a lawsuit your lawyer and the adverse party’s lawyer will establish a framework for Coordination between both parties. This will involve setting deadlines for Production of case documents, and the obtaining of written answers to questions under oath, called Interrogatories.
Depositions may be required to establish the facts of a case, in which both parties can examine any party relevant to the case, to verbally give sworn testimony and answer questions under oath, with a court reporter recording the proceedings. This may include witnesses to the accident, police officers and other first responders involved, medical providers, who can testify in detail regarding injuries and treatment claims made in the lawsuit, and other involved parties. You will be called upon to testify in a deposition, as to how the accident has affected you in terms of the injuries, pain and suffering, lost earnings and other losses.
Parties to the case may ask for an Examination by neutral medical providers of their choice, in an attempt to establish the facts of injuries and treatments to date.
Arbitration Proceedings may take place during the Pretrial phase where both parties meet in an attempt to settle the case before appearing before a judge and jury. Mediation Proceedings may take place, in which both parties meet with a neutral Mediator who will assist in attempting to arrive at a fair settlement before trial. If all attempts fail to resolve the dispute, then Preparations for the jury trial will begin, and ultimately the trial itself.
Adjudication of the case by a jury trial will involve presenting the case before judge and jury by lawyers representing both parties in an adversarial format. Both parties will call witnesses to testify before judge and jury by questioning and cross-examining relevant witnesses and involved parties. Once both sides have called and questioned their witnesses, the jury will deliberate and attempt to assess liability and arrive at a fair settlement based on their understandings of the evidence obtained. The court will be the final forum to determine fair settlement of claims and has the legal authority to enforce its decisions upon the disputing parties to obtain a fair settlement for you, the client.
The Lawyers of the Richard Harris Law Firm will take your case to trial
If all attempts at resolution of your claim fail, our lawyers have no hesitation to prepare your case and present it before a judge and jury to obtain a fair settlement. Our lawyers have the knowledge and experience and trial results to pursue a just and fair settlement through all phases of the legal process. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, call us today at (702) 444-4444.